What I Learned: One Student’s Mission

Editor’s Note: This is the second contribution in the “What I Learned” series, dedicated to first-person accounts from those education. This is a unique contribution from a high school senior, Paige Woodard, who is on a mission to educate the educators about the benefits of social media in classroom. Paige is part of a unique project-based learning class called Innovations at Franklin Community High School in Franklin, Indiana. This is a prime example of when education “clicks” by putting students in the driver’s seat and allowing them to solve real issues that contribute to our society. You can learn more about Paige and her teacher, Mr. Don Wettrick, when I interview them both in a Public Assembly Session Series on Google + Hangouts on Air this Tuesday (Nov. 5) at 8:30 a.m.

Changing the education system is difficult, but tangible.

For the past three months I have focused on integrating social media into the education system and, surprisingly, have found countless administrators, teachers, and social media gurus alike that are passionate about assisting me in my mission.

My social media education mission began with a simple Twitter account and blog on WordPress, yet my ultimate goal is to film a DVD to sell to school administrators that will explain why social media is beneficial in the classroom and how it can be incorporated into the curriculum.

I first realized the substantial impact my mission could make when I presented at Stanford University. Howard Rheingold, author and teacher specialized in modern communication and technology, invited me to speak to his class on my social media education mission and as I concluded this presentation, I understood how important my mission is. If I only convince one teacher, one administrator, one school to utilize social media in their curriculum, dozens more students will benefit from their leap of faith.

Through this experience, I have been given the opportunity to present at Stanford about my social media education project. I have learned how to film, talk in front of a camera, and confidently voice my opinion. I have conducted interviews and interviewed others who intimidated me due to their experience and influence. Furthermore, all of my experiences have molded me into a greater person and I am learning to expand my skill set every day.

Aside from my personal accomplishments, I am also one part of a huge team working to incorporate social media into the education system. I am collaborating with numerous administrators and teachers who encourage their students to use social media in the classroom because they believe technology and social media is a tool necessary for a beneficial education in preparation for the 21st century workforce. The current system does not reflect our technology-based thinking and integrating social media is one step closer to transforming the education system to better parallel our modern world and to better prepare students for their place in it.

Thus, my focus as of now is helping students to understand their responsibilities on social media and exposing them to opportunities. Without social media networking sites, I would still be an eighteen year old from small-town Franklin, Indiana, not a high school senior who has presented at Stanford University and is collaborating with numerous influential educators around the country. By use of social media, I want all students to have the same opportunities as I have been given and to understand they can make a drastic impact on their future—and the world—by simply following their passions. Though I am actively pursuing my passion for social media, I still have a lot to learn about it.


Paige Woodard is a senior at Franklin Community High School in Franklin, Indiana. Through the guidance of Mr. Don Wettrick, she is a part of a student-run, project-based high school class called Innovations. As a part of this class, she is “educating the educators” on the benefits of social media in the classroom. You can read her blog here.